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Distance Acupuncture Technique

Dr. Chen’s Distance Acupuncture Technique (DAT) is a technique developed by Howard Chen, MD, that allows the acupuncture treatment of patients without the physical insertion of needles under their skin. It requires no significant participation or technical skill from the patient and can be done across any distance separating the patient and acupuncturist.

As needles do not pierce the patient’s skin, side effects are minimal. The benefits of a DAT treatment approximate an in-person acupuncture treatment, both in amount of improvement, as well as duration of action.  

Preparation for a DAT Treatment

Your acupuncturist will contact you prior to or at your appointment time to discuss your maladies and treatment needs.  After your brief meeting, at the treatment time decided by you and the acupuncturist, you (the patient) will lie down or recline in a comfortable position and begin to rest. Duration of rest is at least 30 min, but may be as long as overnight, depending on your appointment time.  While falling asleep is not required, we find that your treatment efficacy is enhanced by sleep.  Treat the DAT Treatment like an in-person acupuncture treatment – thus, please arrange for a quiet, comfortable and restful environment for your treatment.  Ensure your bodily needs are met beforehand, and loosen tight clothing as you would in any other period of rest.  Of course, please silence your phone and other electronic devices that would prevent you from resting for the duration of the treatment.  

Location of DAT Treatment

DAT can be performed for you anywhere where you can rest comfortably and safely for the duration of the treatment.  Most of our patients prefer to receive DAT Treatment in the comfort of their homes. 


What sensations will I feel with DAT? 

Although no needles penetrate the skin, during the course of a treatment, patients may experience sensations such as a sense of heaviness, warmth, coolness, muscle twitches. None of these sensations will be very severe or intolerable. Most of our patients report that they experience a peace and restfulness similar to that of receiving in-person acupuncture, after the needles have been placed.

May I move during a DAT Treatment?

Yes, please perform small movements that would enhance your comfort and rest.  As there are no needles physically placed within your skin, you will not injure yourself.  Be aware that an excess of physical movement will impair the efficacy of your DAT treatment.  Thus, exercise, walking, going about your daily life, doing work or chores, will prevent you from receiving the full benefit of treatment.

What is required for a successful DAT Treatment?

In addition to the recommendations above, our providers will often ask for your birth information (Date / Time / Location of birth) both for our records, as well as to get a better sense of you as an individual.  All information is held confidentially.

Is DAT Covered by Health Insurance (Governmental or Private)

No.  As the treatment does not involve the placement of physical needles in flesh, it does not qualify for the standard definition of “Acupuncture”.   While DAT treatment may qualify for the designation of “Telemedicine”, our office does not provide ICD or CPT codes for this procedure.

How does DAT work?

DAT invokes the Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) conception of the linkage between the heart and the human spirit and incorporates multiple CCM acupuncture techniques.  Modern physics’ conception of relativity, quantum entanglement, and the holographic universe model are also likely to be involved, but the exact scientific mechanisms currently remain unclear.

Can you tell me more about DAT?

DAT was conceived by Howard Chen, MD during the first wave of COVID-19 in the Spring of 2020.  As an Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture physician practicing Concierge Primary Care, Dr. Chen had many patients who were unable or unwilling to come into the office for treatment.  However, they still had physical pain and discomfort needs that needed in-person acupuncture treatment.  Having no other recourse, Dr. Chen began inserting needles in a simulacrum acupuncture model in lieu of inserting needles in his patients.  To his (and his patients’) great surprise, his patients experienced relief from their pain and discomfort.  Dr. Chen named the treatment Distance Acupuncture Technique (DAT), and continues to refine it to this day.     Dr. Chen has now taught versions of the technique to > 100 Acupuncturists and Physicians around the world, who have gone on to treat their own patients with great success.

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